As I meet our people in different places, the question is often asked me, "Does Sister White have visions just as she used to years ago? Are the matters she presents to the church now brought to her mind just as they were in the early days?"
In answer to this question, I explain that all the way through her experience, since she was called to public work and began to speak and write at sixteen years of age, matters have been presented to her just as they are today. In the night season the angel of the Lord would appear to her, and lead her to assemblies where she would hear the councils of the church, where she would see what was going on in the world. And then He would instruct her with reference to what she had seen. That method of instruction has continued all through the years.
Soon after she began this work, there was great confusion among Adventist believers, and there was great fanaticism and much unbelief. In order that man might know by physical sense that the visions given to her were from God, she was given many visions in which she would fall helpless to the floor, stop breathing, and yet her heart beat, and she would speak. Many times I have been present when she was thus in vision. I will mention only the first and the last that I remember.
The first one I witnessed as a little boy in the meetinghouse at Roosevelt, New York. Father had given a short talk. Mother had given a short talk. Father prayed; Mother prayed; and as she was praying, I heard that shout, Glory. There is nothing like it--that musical, deep shout of Glory. She fell backward. My father put his arm under her. In a little while her strength came to her. She stood up in an attitude of one seeing wonderful things in the distance, her face illuminated, sometimes bright and joyous. She would speak with that musical voice, making short comments upon what she was seeing. Then as she saw the darkness in the world, there were sad expressions as she spoke of what she saw. This continued ten or fifteen minutes. Then she caught her breath, breathed deeply several times, and then, after a little season of rest, probably five or ten minutes, during which time Father spoke to the people, she arose and related to the congregation some of the things that had been presented to her.
The last vision to which I was a witness where these peculiarities were manifested was at Battle Creek, in the house where we lived for many years, on the corner of Washington and Champion Streets. It was during a Biblical Institute, which began December 15, 1874, and continued for several weeks. The Review of December 22, 1874, says that there were about 150 in attendance at the Institute. During December a very severe form of influenza had been passing around. Several in the family had it, and it fastened itself upon Mother. She was prostrated and very sick. Father began to fear it was taking hold of her so that she would not have strength to recover. Therefore, as was his custom in such times of peril, he decided to call the elders of the church to pray for her. In response to his call, on the afternoon of January 3, 1875, Elders J.
H. Waggoner and Uriah Smith came to the house with Father. Mother was brought down to the parlor and sat well-wrapped-up in a rocking chair. Members of the family, including Mrs. Lucinda Hall, Elder J. O. Corliss, and myself were present.
After a few remarks by my father, very earnest prayers were offered by each of the visiting ministers. Then Father prayed. After Father's prayer, Mother began to pray. She spoke with great effort in a very hoarse, labored voice. After a few sentences her voice broke clear and musical, and we, looking up, saw that a great change had come over her. Her hands were clasped, her eyes uplifted, as she clearly said, "Glory to God."
Then with a quick movement she threw aside the blankets with which she was wrapped and stepped forward, her eyes looking upward as if viewing something of greatest interest. Wringing her hands, and with a look of intense sorrow, she exclaimed, "Dark, dark, so dark!" Later, her face brightened and she exclaimed, "Light! A little light! More light! Much light!"
The scene presented to her at this time, as explained to us afterward, was first the darkness with which the world is enshrouded. A similar view led Isaiah to exclaim, "Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people." As she viewed this darkness, lights appeared. At first she saw little glimmering lights, which grew brighter and clearer and stronger, until the whole world was full of light.
The disciples of Christ are to hold up their light, wherever they are. By them other torches will be lighted. Each is to burn brighter, and light other lights until the whole earth is illuminated with the love and knowledge of God.
This vision lasted abut ten minutes. During the last half of the time Mother had resumed her seat in the rocking chair. At the close she took three deep breaths and then resumed her natural breathing. She sat silent and appeared to be absorbed in contemplation of the vision. Father then kneeled by her chair and said, "Ellen, you have been in vision."
"Yes," she replied.
He then asked if she wished to tell us what had been presented to her. She said, "Not now." Then Sister Hall led her to her room. We all saw that she had been healed. But she seemed overwhelmed with the thoughts of what had been presented to her.
Father and Brethren Smith and Waggoner returned to their work at the Review and Herald office, in preparation for the general meeting. But a few hours later Father returned, and said to Mother, "Ellen, there is a meeting at the church tonight. Will you attend?"
"Yes," she said, "I will go." Soon she walked with Father to the meeting through the snow. The sickness, the weakness, and the hoarseness were gone. She was well again.
At the meeting Father gave a very short address, and then Mother spoke with ease and freedom about twenty minutes. On the following day she spoke again and at greater length about the broadening of our work. She said that the message must be carried to many lands, and that she had seen printing presses running in many foreign countries, printing papers and books containing the third angel's message.
At this point Father interrupted her, saying, "Ellen, can you name some of those countries?"
She hesitated a moment, and then said, "No, I do not recall the names, but I should recognize the places if I saw them. Only one name I remember the angel said, 'Australia.'"
Elders Haskell and Corliss heard this and always kept Australia in mind, until in May, 1885, with several others they sailed from San Francisco and opened up the work in Australia and New Zealand.
Regarding the continuance of the visions. The remarkable physical manifestations which accompanied the day visions have not been seen in recent years. But the night visions have continued from 1844 until the present time. Frequently the angel of the Lord appears to her in connection with revelations of varied character.
Besides the night visions there are many ways in which instruction is given to her. Here is an illustration:
At one time there was a group of young people boarding with Mother in her Healdsburg home, some helping her in her work, and some were students and teachers in the school. A peculiar temptation came to one of the teachers. She had taken a nicely woven hair net of Mother's and put it in her trunk. Mother made diligent inquiry about this net. She searched the house for it, and said, "It must be found. It could not go away by itself." One day she was passing through a room to reach another and a voice said to her, "Lift the lid of that trunk." It was a thing so different from her ordinary life, to look into another person's trunk. But the voice said to her again, "Lift the lid of that trunk." She did so and there saw the missing net. Instead of telling what she had seen, she made inquiry again about the net, and said, "I am sure you will find it." She pressed the matter so hard that the one who had taken the net felt that she must get rid of, and so she destroyed it. She felt that she could not return it after what had been said about it.
One day as Mother was sitting at the fireplace, a picture appeared before her eyes of that young lady holding the net over a lamp and burning it. When Mother saw that there was a determined purpose not to confess the transgression, she told the young lady what she had seen, and she confessed it all. She said, "I do not know why I took it. I do not know why I did not bring it back when you first spoke of it." She was a young woman of beautiful character except one thing. All her life long she had been indulged and trained to selfishness. Evidently the Lord gave her that experience to reveal that trait. After this she made a decided reformation, lived a new life. The Lord meant that to save her from more serious things.
Many a time when Mother is writing, she stops, and as she waits and prays a thought is flashed into her mind, full of additional instruction as to what to write. As I speak of these things, you will recognize in each one of these forms of presentation parallels of the experiences of the prophets as recorded in the Bible. Many times when some matter of special importance requiring wisdom and judgment is about to present itself, sometimes when mighty decisions are soon to be made in a meeting, or important policies to be adopted in institutional work, she will live over the whole experience in advance. In a night vision, perhaps months before, the angel of the Lord is there to tell her what is coming and what to adopt. (The angel is the same one that she speaks of in her first writings as the "young man." She speaks of him now as "our instructor," or "our counsellor." Having passed through these experiences and heard instruction as to what course should be taken when the issue comes, and matters develop just as they were presented to her in the vision, she knows what counsel to give and what course to pursue.
Many things are presented to her in picture and in figure. Some of you will remember that beautiful chapter in the last of The Great Controversy in which is described the experience of God's people who have been in dungeons and hiding places, and as they come, a voice sounds forth, "They come! they come! holy,
harmless, and undefiled." When Mother was writing the last chapters of The Great Controversy she was heard three times in the night uttering these words as the scene was presented to her over and over. One morning she said, "Now I have got it. I know where to place it. I have found its relation."
Sometimes important warnings are presented to her in figure, and it is not told her whether the act represented in the figure has occurred, or is to occur in the future, or whether it is a representation of that of which there is danger and which should be carefully avoided.
One time when we were far away from Battle Creek, which had been our home, we received a message that a brother had been disfellowshiped from the church. As I read the letter, I said, "Oh, Mother, Brother A has been disfellowshiped from the church." She said, "Yes." She did not seem to be surprised. I said, "Will you tell me what it was for?" "Yes," she said, "too much affection for a young lady." "Will you tell me who?" She named the person. I asked, "How did you know all this?" She said, "Some months ago they were represented to me as standing in a public place, he with his arm around her, and she looking lovingly into his face. I did not know at the time whether it was a picture of an actual occurrence or a warning as to something that they should avoid."
Sometimes the question comes to me, What would you say if you read a testimony of reproof for something that has never been done? I would say, Accept that as a caution and keep so far away from it that it might never occur. Let me tell you an incident along this line:
There was a brother with whom I was associated in Australia, who said to me, "Brother White, I am in trouble. I am in serious trouble, because your mother has written me a letter reproving me for something that I never did. I am in deep distress. I do not know what to do about it." Then he told me about the reproof.
"My brother," I said, "I am very glad that you have come to me for counsel, because I believe I can help you." Then I told him what I have just related, and many other things in which sometimes the chronology or the geography was not clearly presented.
I also told him how one Sabbath, at Basle, as I was reading Wylie's History of Protestantism, telling about the experience of the Roman armies coming against the Hungarians, and how a large body of persecutors would see a little body of Protestants and become frightened and beat a hasty retreat. As I read it to Mother she interrupted me and told a lot of things in the pages ahead, and told me many things not in the book at all. She said, "I never read about it, but that scene has been presented to me over and over again. I have seen the papal armies, and sometimes before they had come in sight of the Protestants, the angels of God would give them a representation of large armies that would make them flee." I said, "Why did you not put it into your book?" She said, "I did not know where to put it."
I said to this brother, "You and I draw very fine distinctions between the past, the present, and the future. We make a great difference between them. With God, all is present. You and I draw a very fine distinction between an act contemplated, thought of, dwelt upon in the mind, and an act performed. The Lord does not make so much difference as we do. He looks at the thought of the heart, and when He sees in your mind and mine a plan, a desire, to Him it is like the seed of a tree. In it He sees the tree bearing fruit.
"My brother, if you have received a reproof for what you have never done, I advise you to take it as a warning, and shape your course of action so far away from it that it will never occur. Do not flatter yourself that the temptation will pass with a few days or a few weeks. Remember the conquest of self is a life-long work."
He grasped the thought and said, "I see the point. I thank you for your counsel. I have seen enough of your mother's work to know the power there is in it, the truth there is in it. I accept that as a warning, and I will keep so far away from the evil course referred to that men need never know that I was in need of this caution."
Some months after this complaints were brought to me that this brother was taking the very course regarding which he had protested innocence. For some time he argued that the charges were false, but finally confessed that he had for a long time been following the very course for which he had been reproved.
Technically, as men see and judge, he may have been innocent at the time when he first received the reproof; yet in spirit and motive he may have been guilty all the time.
Sometimes the question is asked, Was Dr. Kellogg reproved for erecting a building in Chicago that never was built? Was there a representation made of buildings there that never were constructed? Yes. Was there a representation made to Ezekiel of a city and a temple that never were built? Why was that representation made to him? Because it was possible that there should be such a city. If the people had walked in the light it would have been built. But they did not walk in the light and the city and temple shown to the prophet never were built. Ezekiel recorded what was shown to him.
While we were in Australia there was presented to Mother in visions of the night large buildings in Chicago, occupied by many enterprises, absorbing the time and energies of our people. It was shown her what it meant to the conferences and the missions in other lands to permit the gathering of means for these buildings. No one had ever written to Mother or told her that there were any such buildings. But she wrote what was presented to her. She saw the buildings, the many enterprises, and the result, and wrote the protest given here against it. I read that before it went, and thought the one to whom it was addressed understood her work well enough to understand its meaning and receive it as a caution. But instead of that, great indignation was stirred up over it. It has been often discussed and the letter quoted as showing the unreliability of the Testimonies.
For some years this was a burden to Mother, but in the summer of 1902, after the organization of the Pacific Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association, the perplexity was cleared away. One day Judge Jesse Arthur and Mrs. Arthur took dinner at Mother's house, and after dinner the matter of the Chicago building was discussed. Judge Arthur told us that he knew something about the plans that were prepared and discussed for a large building in Chicago, and that he had seen the plan that was drawn for such a building by Brother W. K. Loughborough. He told us that Dr. Holmes, who had done much to help in the Chicago work of the Medical Missionary College, and who was an active member of the American Medical Association, was deeply interested that we should have large and acceptable buildings in Chicago, because unless we had a suitable place for our work, it would be impossible to secure favorable recognition from the American Medical Association and the Association of Medical Colleges.
Therefore, Dr. Holmes voluntarily looked up a place and made suggestions regarding plans. Various places were examined; various plans were discussed, great and small. Dr. Holmes was continually leading on to plan for a very large building, and it was thought that the Medical College could occupy a part, part could be given to the dispensary, and several other kindred enterprises could be grouped in this large building. As Judge Arthur described in a general way the
plans that were being considered for a building, Mother said, "That is what was presented to me," and then she took up the description of the building and went on with it for a while. "Yes," Judge Arthur said, and then proceeded with the description. The conversation was like that of two persons who had been seeing the same things, and in which one would tell a part, and the other would tell a part, and all in perfect harmony. It was considered important that the large building under consideration be erected as soon as possible, because the time was drawing near for the graduation of a class of students from the Medical Missionary College, and the friendly influence of the supervising medical associations was desired. Dr. J. H. Kellogg was in Europe, but his most hearty approval was expected. But on his return he at once raised the question, "Where is the money?" The testimony regarding the large buildings in Chicago had caused him to lose hope that he could raise the necessary funds for their construction.
The message had gone to Dr. Kellogg while he was in Europe. He was not only the leader but also the head and front of that work. It was his plans that gave shape to all that was done. When he saw the Testimony was against what he and his associates desired to do, he called a halt.
The question of personal influence is one that has perplexed many. Some have gotten the idea that personal influence can be brought to bear in such a way as to sway the tenor of the Testimonies this way or that way or the other way, according to the feelings and wishes and desires of those close to Mother.
Those who are best acquainted with Mother's work know that there is a solidity to it that cannot be shaken. There is a part which men have to act in connection with this as well as with every other part of the work of God. Ofttimes there is presented to Mother a view of the field and the work that lies before us. She is shown that if a conference, a church, or a group of men take such and such a course, the result will surely be of such and such a nature, and therefore she must give warning. Ofttimes she must ask our brethren with reference to the progress of the work, that she may know whether the time has come to give her testimony.
While we were in Avondale, struggling to build up the college there, there were great differences of opinion among the members of the board. We had a group of men trained in different schools of experience. They were strong men, and they had many differences of opinion. Some wanted to see rapid progress; others wanted to see great economy and caution exercised; and there were all shades of doctrine regarding finances and school management. I felt that I was well acquainted with Mother's views regarding school work. I had heard her counsels to the Union Conference Committee during the years we were searching for a place and locating the school. I had heard her statements regarding what the school might be. I felt a burden to hasten the work forward along broad lines. Some of the brethren felt that I was anxious to move too fast, willing to run too great risk, and that I was taking unfair advantage of my close connection with Mother to bring her influence into that work to carry out my wishes.
For the sake of those who were thinking along that line, as well as for my own peace of mind and assurance, I decided to keep far away from anything that could be a cause of perplexity to them or to me, and although I wanted counsel very much, I decided to adopt a perfectly safe plan.
In those days we did our school board work deliberately and thoroughly. Sometimes we would counsel for a week. Usually I went home from the board meeting late at night, and then I would tell the Lord before I slept my greatest perplexities and difficulties. Often I prayed, "Lord, guide by whom Thou wilt. If it is by giving special light to Brother Haskell, Brother Hughes,
Brother Daniells, Brother Palmer, or any other member of the board, help us to accept it; or if Thou wilt give us help by sending counsel through Mother, as in the past, Lord give us help." Then each morning I would see Mother and say, "Have you any word for us?"
Sometimes she would say, "In the night I was in a council, where we were talking over such and such matters, and I was told to say so and so." Then as she related the experience, I several times received the exact answer to the questions I had laid before the Lord the night before. Sometimes what Mother said was not a direct answer, but it taught me the position I ought to take with reference to important problems that were before us. Not all of the things she gave me those mornings found an application during the work then in hand. But I assure you I was very thankful for the help then received.
One morning I had asked that question as usual. I was a little late, and said, "I must hurry away now, for it is meeting time." Mother said, "I want you to tell me what you are doing." I said, "Why should I tell you? Will not the Lord tell you whatever it is necessary for you to know?" "Well," she said, "I want you to tell me what you are doing." I said, "I do not want to say much about what we are doing just now." Then Mother seized hold of my coat, just as she used to do when I was a little boy, and swinging me around in front of her, she said, "Willie White, it is presented to me that you are having a hard time, and when you have reached a certain point I have something say, and I want to know whether you have reached that time or not." I told her what we were doing, and she said, "Go on, I will not go over today."
Then a day or two later she came and gave us some counsel. The counsel she gave did not especially uphold me in my plans. I do not know of anyone whose plans are more often crossed and corrected than are mine.
One time I was in Melbourne camp meeting, working early and late to the full extent of my strength, and I received a most sad, reproving letter about my neglecting Mother's work and about the necessity of giving more attention to it. She had consented to my going to the meeting, and I could not see why it should come to me then. I said, There is no use thinking about it; the business of the meeting needs all my energies, and I put it away. But was that the best way? I found out afterward that there was a man right there that I could have secured for help in the work that needed attention. But the message hurt me. I thought I was doing all I could. I was not reconciled to it, and I put it out of my mind, and there was the very help within my reach that would have helped me to do what I ought to do.
Now with reference to the matter of personal influence: I have seen that messages brought to Mother by word of mouth and by letter prompted her to write, and the question has arisen, Did this message simply prompt her to write things which had been revealed, or did it also influence the matter that is written?
The Lord has given me many experiences that answer that question. I will tell you some of them. One time there was a group of men associated with the president of the General Conference who were strong financiers. Their hearts had not been drawn out to foreign missions, but their hearts did rejoice in large buildings, facilities, and machinery at the center of the work, Battle Creek, and they kept it continually before the president of the General Conference that it was those things that gave stability and strength to the cause, and imperceptibly he was being influenced more and more by this view of the work. Steps were being taken which businessmen would consider wise, but in the eyes of the Lord it was robbery. The mission fields were being robbed.
Letters came to us from America, from the president of the General Conference, stating that these men were having a good experience, that they were getting out to camp meetings, and were helping here and there. It was a most
encouraging report, and I assure you I was glad to read it. One of these men I loved; the other I admired for his business ability. For years I had endeavored to present to Mother all the encouraging things I could about their work.
It was a noon mail that brought this report, and in the afternoon Mother and I sat down and rejoiced over the good news. We said how good it was that Mother now could lay off the burden she had been carrying. I went to my home full of joy and thanksgiving and praise because of this turn in affairs, and that Mother could lay off the crushing burden she had been bearing regarding the work at Battle Creek. But next day I found Mother busily writing, and on the second day she called me in to read the most severe condemnatory message she had ever written regarding the work and influence of these leading men.
Why this change of attitude? It was because the angel of the Lord had appeared to her, and she had been given another view of their work. I have seen such experiences not once or twice, but many times.
I have seen people come trying to get some word in favor of their particular schemes. One of the most marked experiences was in connection with the Oakland General Conference of 1903. There was a terrible controversy there. Before that conference, for weeks, yes, months, Mother had been living over in advance the experiences that were to come. Morning after morning as I visited her room she would tell me about the serious questions that were to come up at the meeting. Often she would say, "I do not know whether I have strength to attend the conference or not, but if I do attend, I shall have to bear a very plain testimony thus and so. I often pray, 'Lord, help me to remember, and if the time ever comes when I need to know this, let it be brought to my mind.'"
Finally we came to the conference and the battle was on. Those representing one side of the controversies would come to Mother for counsel. They would say, "We are in perplexity. We do not want to do wrong. It looks to us as though such and such a danger is coming to the church, and it must be met, and how shall it be met?" Then Mother would tell them how the danger was presented to her and the necessity of vigilance. As I heard the strong presentations by these men, of the difficulties as they saw them, the question would force itself upon me, "Will this influence Mother's testimony?"
Now, you can imagine the intensity of my interest when she took her stand before the conference to bear her message. I was watching closely to see if she gave the message she had said that she would or if she would bear a testimony somewhat modified. But as you would expect, the testimony that she bore departed not a hair's breadth to the right or the left from what she had stated to us at home that it should be.
There was, however, one line of thought on which she planned to speak plainly that never was presented. She had told me over and over again before the conference, and during the conference, that she must present to such and such a group of physicians their danger. And at her request we called the physicians together. Some ministers said, "Should we not hear also?" Some of the principal ones she wanted to talk with were absent, and she saw before her persons who were not prepared to receive and use wisely the message she had to bear; therefore she never gave it. She turned aside, and read some-
thing instructive on another subject. When she sees the people gathered to listen to her counsel, and it is impressed upon her heart that they will make wrong use of her words, she sometimes decides not to say what she had in mind to say.
One more thought about personal influence. Some said, "Did you see when Sister White was talking there in the conference that she turned around and said to W. C. White, 'Have I covered all the points, Willie?' Doesn't that show that he is coaching her and she is trying to satisfy him?" This may be a natural question to suspicious minds. What are the facts?
Sometimes for weeks before an important meeting Mother has been telling me morning by morning the statements that she intended to bear. Then when the meeting came, she would speak to large audiences. Then when called upon to bear her testimony to our own people she would say to me before going to the meeting, "I am tired; the people have been talking to me; you must help me to remember the things I have told you." And when in the pulpit she would turn to me for a reminder of what she had told me beforehand she wanted to say. Here is an illustration:
At the close of the General Conference held in Battle Creek in 1901, the brethren urged that Mother should go to Indianapolis and attend the general meeting appointed there to consider the fanatical work carried on by a group of laborers who had been teaching the doctrine of the holy flesh.
Mother was weary and felt that she had not strength for this additional burden. She repeatedly told me and other members of the family that she did not feel able to attend that meeting. She did not feel that she had strength to bear the testimony which she must bear if she attended the meeting. Then she told us many things she would have to say to the brethren who had been teaching the strange doctrine in Indiana. She repeated this several times, so that I remembered very distinctly what it was that she said she must testify if she went to Indiana. Finally she decided to go. The Lord strengthened her for the journey, and she bore her testimony to a large congregation of our people in a clear, decisive way. After this she was requested to speak to a large audience Sunday afternoon. This was a heavy draft on her strength, and at the close she was very weary.
Sunday afternoon I had a long talk with one of the ministers holding the strange doctrine against which Mother had borne her testimony, and he asked for an interview with Mother. I told him that Mother was weary. But when I saw that he would feel grieved and injured if the interview was denied, I told him I would do all I could to arrange for an interview early Monday morning.
I expected to see Mother Sunday evening and tell her of this brother's desire to see her in the morning, but committee work prevented my seeing her that evening.
Monday morning early I went to her room and found her very busy writing. Then she told me that an important subject had been opened up to her mind in the night and she greatly desired to write it out before anything came in to divert her mind from the subject. I then told her that I had promised one of the ministers that I would do my best to arrange for an interview with her early Monday morning. Mother said, "But my mind is now on this other subject. I have borne my testimony to our people, and my discourse to the large audience exhausted my strength, and now I have this new subject to write out. Why must I have a private interview with this brother?"
Again I told her of his desire to have an interview with her, and she said, "But what can I say to him?" Then I saw that the Sunday afternoon discourse and the new subject opened to her mind had taken her thought completely
away from the matter of the holy flesh fanaticism, and so I repeated to her some of the things which she had told me when in Battle Creek that she would have to say to these brethren if she came to Indiana. After calling her attention to a few of the things that she had repeatedly told us she must say to these brethren if she came to Indiana, her mind took up that line of thought, and then I went to look for the brother.
During this conversation a good sister in the next room had heard some of our words. I had spoken quite loudly to Mother, and the sister had heard my words, without, perhaps, hearing what Mother said, and she was greatly surprised and shocked to hear W. C. White telling his mother what she should say to a brother in perplexity. Of course, the matter was told to others and the report was circulated far and wide before it came to my attention.
This is not the only way that the enemy works to trick us who are connected with Mother into positions where it looks as though we were tampering with her work. Those who want to believe that the Testimonies are not pure and genuine will have plenty of opportunity to hear things that can be told in such a way as to show that we are not dealing honestly with that work. But I want to say regarding that which goes out from Mother's office, signed with her own hand or stamped with her signature, that Mother is intelligently responsible for it. There is no one connected with her who has the desire to tamper with her work or to do otherwise than she tells us to do.
Mother writes very rapidly. She does much of her writing early in the morning. She often writes upon many subjects in one letter or manuscript, just as subject after subject is flashed upon her mind. These manuscripts she passes to one who is expert in reading her writing to copy off on the typewriter, and then it is given back to Mother. She examines it, making such corrections, changes, and additions as she sees fit. Then it is copied again and sent out according to Mother's direction. Sometimes a long personal letter will contain matter which she wishes to use in a more general letter to be sent to a group of workers. Sometimes it contains material for an article for one of our periodicals, or a chapter in a book.
Some of the most precious chapters of The Desire of Ages are made up of material first written in letters to men laboring under trying circumstances, for the purpose of cheering and instructing them regarding their work. Some of these beautiful lessons about Christian experience as illustrated in the life of our Saviour were first written in letters to my brother Edson, when he was struggling with many difficulties in his work in Mississippi. Some were written first to Elder Corliss when he was holding a discussion with a wily Campbellite in Sydney.
One thing I should feel condemned about if I did not speak of it, and that is the longsuffering and patience of God toward erring men as manifested in the messages that are sent to the church through Mother. Oftentimes a man is chosen for a position of responsibility, and the enemy comes in with all power to unfit him for his work and place. Then when the brethren see his weakness they are ready to dispense with him. But the Lord looks upon him as the Lord Jesus looked upon His disciples--having loved them, He loved them unto the end--when He said, "Of those Thou hast given Me, none is lost save the son of perdition." It shows how patient, how determined He was that men shall have all the opportunity that heaven can give. That characteristic you will see in the messages God sends to the church in the Testimonies.
If the brethren, when they see a brother doing wrong, will deal with him faithfully, they may win him back, or they would develop the fact that he is hopeless. If
this were done, there would not be any need of the testimony so often given, cautioning the church about pushing away men whom the Lord is still anxious to save.
We can only come to a clear understanding of the Testimonies by a diligent study of the messages the Lord has given to His church in past ages, remembering that the same forms of language mean the same today, and by studying them in the light of the love of Jesus.
I pray God that we all may become wise in our study of these things, because we all will have opportunities to help others.
Ellen G. White Estate
General Conference of
Washington 12, D.C.
May 20, 1954
Edited and reformatted 6-6-91
Silver Spring, Maryland. nc.